Dublin in 2021: City leaders set sights on post-pandemic plans
Dublin city leaders say the challenges presented by the COVID-19 coronavirus in 2020 will remain in 2021. But they also are looking beyond the pandemic and starting initiatives that will shape the city’s future deep into the decade.
One such initiative is the Dublin 2035 Framework.
“In 2020, council reaffirmed and updated (existing) goals and added a new goal – the Dublin 2035 Framework,” said Mayor Chris Amorose Groomes, who also is a member of City Council.
The Dublin 2035 Framework is an update to the city’s community plan.
Groomes described it as “mindful consideration in the planning, navigating and establishment of long-term future direction” organized around four overarching themes: infrastructure, land use, economics and quality of life.
The Dublin 2035 Framework “is a significant undertaking,” City Manager Dana McDaniel said. “Our staff, City Council and the community will all be a part of the process.”
Dublin also is focused on enhancing connectivity.
“(We) will continue pilots and explore partnerships and possible economic models to find viable solutions to deliver broadband access and smart-city capabilities to all our residents and businesses,” Groomes said.
Another goal, she said, is to increase Dublin’s income-tax revenue in 2021.
“(We) will execute on the recently completed economic-development strategy to spur growth and raise income-tax revenue by 3% or more annually,” Groomes said.
Among the short-term goals for 2021 is the continued effort to recover from the pandemic.
“Managing our way through this pandemic while continuing to provide best-in-class services as safely as we can” is among immediate goals for 2021, McDaniel said.
Although some service might look different, they will not falter, he said.
“It’s ‘all systems go’ when it comes to our services,” he said.
Dublin’s venerable St. Patrick’s Day parade will go on but with a twist: It will be a “drive-thru" event.
“It will be kind of in reverse,” McDaniel said. “Instead of people standing and watching a parade go by, people will drive by the (stationary) parade.”
The fate of the 2021 Irish Festival, the city’s signature event, isn't expected to be determined until midyear after the 2020 version was canceled. It's normally held the first weekend in August.
“We think we can have it in a modified way but will wait until June to decide,” McDaniel said.
Likewise, the city will wait until the end of March to consider how Fourth of July events could be held safely, he said.
Meanwhile, the city will continue to offer online programs and explore opportunities to offer other recreational events outdoors, McDaniel said.
Several construction projects are planned, including an addition to Dublin’s municipal building at 5555 Perimeter Drive that will serve as City Council chambers.
Council is meeting remotely because of the pandemic but otherwise would meet at Dublin’s municipal offices at 5200 Emerald Parkway.
“We expect the new council chambers to be ready by mid-2021,” said Lindsay Weisenauer, Dublin’s public-affairs officer.
In late 2019, the city purchased the Delta Energy Building on Perimeter Drive and relocated the city’s administrative offices there in early 2020, Weisenauer said. As part of the move, Dublin’s development department moved to Emerald Parkway from a building at 5800 Shier Rings Road that the city has sold.
Riverside Crossing Park also is scheduled to be completed in 2021, McDaniel said.
The park is nestled on the west and east sides of the Scioto River in the shadow of the Dublin Link, a pedestrian bridge that was opened in March 2020 that connects historic Dublin to the Bridge Street District on either side of the river.
“2021 will present us with many of the same challenges as 2020, but we will continue to provide services to our residents and move forward,” McDaniel said. “We will be ready and well-positioned for the rebound on the other side (of the pandemic).”